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Submitted by jonathan on Fri, 2010-01-22 12:21
Chris McGreal, The Guardian
First Massachusetts, now Air America.
One of the US's leading liberal radio networks, launched six years ago with the comedian Al Franken among its presenters to challenge the domination of Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives, has declared bankruptcy and will go off air on Monday.
Air America made a name for itself with Franken, until he left to win a seat in the Senate, who pulled in a sizeable part of its audience on 100 radio stations across the country. Other presenters included Ron Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan.Read more.
Submitted by jonathan on Tue, 2010-01-19 11:32
Naomi Klein, The Guardian
In May 2009, Absolut Vodka launched a limited edition line called "Absolut No Label". The company's global public relations manager, Kristina Hagbard, explained that "For the first time we dare to face the world completely naked. We launch a bottle with no label and no logo, to manifest the idea that no matter what's on the outside, it's the inside that really matters."
A few months later, Starbucks opened its first unbranded coffee shop in Seattle, called 15th Avenue E Coffee and Tea. This "stealth Starbucks" (as the anomalous outlet immediately became known) was decorated with "one-of-a-kind" fixtures and customers were invited to bring in their own music for the stereo system as well as their own pet social causes – all to help develop what the company called "a community personality." Customers had to look hard to find the small print on the menus: "inspired by Starbucks". Tim Pfeiffer, a Starbucks senior vice-president, explained that unlike the ordinary Starbucks outlet that used to occupy the same piece of retail space, "This one is definitely a little neighbourhood coffee shop." After spending two decades blasting its logo on to 16,000 stores worldwide, Starbucks was now trying to escape its own brand.Read more.
Submitted by jonathan on Tue, 2010-01-12 15:09
Davey D, Davey D's Hip Hop Corner
By now everyone has heard about the racial firestorm that has brewed because of some remarks attributed to Senate majority leader Harry Reid in a new book called Game Change. They were made in a private conversation during the 2008 campaign where Reid noted that then Senator Obama might be successful because he was light-skin and didn’t speak with a ‘Negro Dialect’. Obama in typical fashion avoided the mess that can come when discussing race by quickly accepting Reid’s apology, downplaying the remarks and announcing ‘the book is closed’ on the subject.
Of course Obama’s Republican counterparts seeing that Reid is in a tight re-election race have been trying their best to blow this issue up. The party of Ronald Reagan who supported South African Apartheid, the party of John McCain who said ‘No to a Martin Luther King holiday are suddenly getting all Jesse Jackson-like and riding hard for all those who have been on the receiving end of racial insults and oppression.. Thank you Republican Party-I guess…Not! LOLRead more.
Submitted by jonathan on Mon, 2010-01-11 12:47
Project for Excellence in Journalism
Where does the news come from in today’s changing media?
Who really reports the news that most people get about their communities? What role do new media, blogs and specialty news sites now play?
How, in other words, does the modern news “ecosystem” of a large American city work? And if newspapers were to die—to the extent that we can infer from the current landscape—what would that imply for what citizens would know and not know about where they live?
The questions are becoming increasingly urgent. As the economic model that has subsidized professional journalism collapses, the number of people gathering news in traditional television, print and radio organizations is shrinking markedly. What, if anything, is taking up that slack?
The answers are a moving target; even trying to figure out how to answer them is a challenge. But a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which takes a close look at the news ecosystem of one city suggests that while the news landscape has rapidly expanded, most of what the public learns is still overwhelmingly driven by traditional media—particularly newspapers.
The study, which examined all the outlets that produced local news in Baltimore, Md., for one week, surveyed their output and then did a closer examination of six major narratives during the week, finds that much of the “news” people receive contains no original reporting. Fully eight out of ten stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.
And of the stories that did contain new information nearly all, 95%, came from traditional media—most of them newspapers. These stories then tended to set the narrative agenda for most other media outlets.
The local papers, however, are also offering less than they once did. For all of 2009, for instance, the Sun produced 32% fewer stories on any subject than it did in 1999, and 73% fewer stories than in 1991, when the company still published an evening and morning paper with competing newsrooms.  And a comparison of one major story during the week studied—about state budget cuts—found newspapers in the area produced only one-third as many stories in 2009 as they did the last time the state made a similar round of budget cuts in 1991, and the Baltimore Sun one seventh as many. Yet the numbers suggest the addition of new media has not come close to making up the difference.Read more.
Submitted by jonathan on Mon, 2010-01-11 00:23
Rosette Royale, Real Change News
This week, when Washington State legislators start work on the first day of the State’s legislative session, a new group of journalists will be there covering the news. Newly launched by independent journalist Trevor Griffey, Olympia Newswire is an independent, non-profit news collective, whose small staff of experienced reporters will push back against a steady erosion of the Olympia press corps.Read more.
Submitted by jonathan on Fri, 2010-01-08 08:03
Columbia Journalism Review
The small makeup room off the main floor of KUSI’s studios, in a suburban canyon on the north end of San Diego, has seen better days. The carpet is stained; the couch sags. John Coleman, KUSI’s weatherman, pulls off the brown sweatshirt he has been wearing over his shirt and tie all day and appraises himself in the mirror, smoothing back his white hair and opening a makeup kit. “I kid that I have to use a trowel, to fill the crevasses of age,” he says, swiping powder under one eye and then the other. “People have tried to convince me to use more advanced makeup, but I don’t. I don’t try to fool anyone.”
Coleman is seventy-five years old, and looks it, which is refreshing in the Dorian Gray-like environs of television news. He refers to his position at KUSI, a modestly eccentric independent station in San Diego whose evening newscast usually runs fifth out of five in the local market, as his retirement job. When he steps in front of the green screen, it’s clear why he has chosen it over actual retirement; in front of the camera he moves, if not quite like a man half his age, then at least like a man three quarters of it. His eyes light up, and the slight stoop with which he otherwise carries himself disappears. His rumble of a voice evens out into a theatrical baritone, full of the practiced jocularity of someone who has spent all but the first nineteen years of his life on TV.
By his own rough estimate, John Coleman has performed more than a quarter million weathercasts. It is not a stretch to say that he is largely responsible for the shape of the modern weather report. As the first weatherman on ABC’s Good Morning America in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Coleman pioneered the use of the onscreen satellite technology and computer graphics that are now standard nearly everywhere. In 1982, chafing at the limitations of his daily slot on GMA, Coleman used his spare time—and media mogul Frank Batten’s money—to launch The Weather Channel. The idea seemed quixotic then, and his tenure as president ended a year later after an acrimonious split with Batten. But time proved Coleman to be something of a genius—the channel was turning a profit within four years, and by the time NBC-Universal bought it in 2008 it had 85 million viewers and a $3.5 billion price tag.Read more.
Submitted by jonathan on Mon, 2009-12-07 10:41
Ian Katz, Guardian
On the eve of this week's international climate summit in Copenhagen, 56 major newspapers in 45 countries issued a joint editorial calling for dramatic action on climate change. No first-rank US papers took part. A number of major US titles evinced support for the project, even conceding that they agreed with everything in the editorial, but stopped short of signing up, leaving the admirably independent-minded Miami Herald as the sole representative of the world's second biggest polluter. It is hard not to be struck by the parallel with the Kyoto agreement when the US stood to one side as the world began to move against climate change.Read more.
Submitted by jonathan on Sun, 2009-11-29 09:45
Susan Krashinsky, Globe and Mail
In the three years since its launch, the English-language spinoff of Mideast news network Al Jazeera has been airing on cable and satellite in more than 100 countries, including the United States and Israel. Now it's coming to Canada.
Yesterday, the CRTC gave the green light to the Qatar-based network Al Jazeera English, noting it "will expand the diversity of editorial points of view in the Canadian broadcasting system." Toronto-based satellite service Ethnic Channels Group Ltd. submitted the broadcast request in February.
Al Jazeera English (AJE), based in Doha, Qatar, broadcasts international news around the clock. Since the launch of the English service, its management has met the challenge of reshaping a network that once served one corner of the world and expanding to international markets.
Submitted by jonathan on Fri, 2009-11-27 11:27
Lome Anderson, ColorLines
As a child, I was drawn to Cookie Monster's manic love for baked goods, but my most vivid recollection of Sesame Street is Gordon. I can't remember when I first saw him, whether he was having one of his chats with Oscar about O’s grouchy outlook on life or whether he joined in a song urging us to do something good for ourselves, but I do recall his presence: warm, joyful, thoughtful and firm. Not a caricature or stereotype of a Black man, Gordon represents Sesame Street's greatest value for me as a father—a world where people of color are celebrated without being tokenized, satirized or exaggerated.Read more.
Submitted by jonathan on Fri, 2009-11-13 12:39
Tracy Rosenberg, SF Chronicle
The Obama administration has taken a lot of heat recently for declaring war on Fox News, including from Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders. And it's true that you can't have presidential staffers ducking press inquiries. But media lies and distortions are another ball game entirely. Let's look at the record:
-- In October 2004, Carl Cameron, Fox News' chief political correspondent, posted on the Fox News Web site fabricated quotes from Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.: "Women should like me! I do manicures," and "I'm metrosexual, (Bush) is a cowboy." Kerry never made those statements. When the inaccuracies were exposed, Fox News took down the story.
Sound like old news? It is, but it is indicative of a pattern of reporting as facts what is not true or never happened. People can have differing opinions about the meaning of what is said. There's a problem when we're debating what was said.Read more.